Aaron Judge found himself in a familiar spot in the Yankees' clubhouse on a Sunday afternoon, reminiscent of where he had been almost a year ago. Back then, the Yankees had made it deep into the playoffs but were ultimately defeated by the Astros in a one-sided ALCS. Judge had openly labeled that season a "failure."
Now, as the Yankees faced an early exit from playoff contention with a disappointing 7-1 loss to the D-backs in a rainy and windy Yankee Stadium, Judge couldn't help but think along the same lines. This marks the first time since 2016 that the Yankees will miss the playoffs.
Judge reflected on the season, saying, "A lot went wrong. In the end, we simply didn't execute our roles. With the talent we have in our lineup and pitching rotation, we should have performed better as a team... Every year I've been in New York, I've been in the postseason. This offseason will be different, but it'll give us more time to prepare for the next one."
In Judge's rookie year in 2017, he had been part of the young "Baby Bombers" who helped lead the team to the playoffs, raising hopes for a promising future. However, despite several attempts under manager Aaron Boone since then, the Yankees fell short of winning a championship.
Judge emphasized, "If I'm not talking to you guys about winning a championship, it's a failure. All the hard work we put in during the offseason, training, preparation, day in and day out, rain or shine, it's all about bringing a championship back. That's why we play. That's why I'm here."
He expressed his commitment to building a championship team in New York but acknowledged that falling short in the regular season like this was a significant setback. There's much work to be done, including internal discussions and problem-solving.